Category Archives: culture

An Eye for an Eye….

When a man near Khartoum was set upon by two men and consequently suffered a broken tooth, he insisted on a similar punishment for his attackers, once the matter was brought before an emergency court. 

Under strict Islamic Law, the presiding judge ordered that a dentist remove one tooth from each culprit without the use of anaesthetic!


Source: The Canberra Times, Tuesday 5 June 1984


Yin and Yang

According to traditional Chinese belief, it is considered bad luck not to lose teeth with advancing age…


Source: An exploration of oral health beliefs and attitudes of Chinese in West Yorkshire: a qualitative investigation.

Kwan SY, Holmes MA. Health Educ Res. 1999 Aug;14(4):453-60.

A Grain of Rice

Prior to the invention of the lie detector, when suspected criminals were captured and presented before the courts in India, their automatic response to fear was cleverly utilized in arriving at a verdict. The offender was given dry rice to chew, and his ability to do so was the decider. If the culprit was guilty, chewing the rice would be impossible, as his intense fear would dry up his mouth, and so he would confess. On the other hand, an innocent party would soften the rice with a plentiful release of saliva…
Source: Traralgon Record, Friday 17 January 1908

Girl Power

It was customary for teenagers of the Baila Batonga tribe in Northern Rhodesia to have their front teeth knocked out by the elderly with hammer and chisel, to prevent the risk of looking like zebras. This tradition continued until the teenage girls took a stand against it!


Source:The Argus, Monday 16 January 1950

#Fashion Faux Pas

Do you ever think about your dentist’s unpolished shoes while lying in his dental chair?

*In 1951,a dentist in Middlesex, England, refused to see male patients who presented to his practice without wearing a tie. It is unclear whether this attitude was attributed to an inborn obsessive personality trait, or if it evolved from years of dental training, which involved the implementation of strict personal hygiene measures.

How times have changed…these days we live in a society that tends to be somewhat more laid back. Some dentists are even known to practise unshaven (the men, of course), wearing a t- shirt, jeans, and sneakers.

What are your thoughts on today’s dental fashion?


*Source: The Muswellbrook Chronicle, Friday 9 February 1951

Nature’s Toothbrush

These days we are becomingly increasingly interested in reducing waste and finding more environmentally friendly solutions in daily life. When it comes to brushing our teeth, the Jamaicans win hands down in this department. The “toothbrush plant” grown on the island has been used by the indigenous population as a “natural” toothbrush, after cutting it in pieces and fraying the ends. Additionally, the dried stems of the plant are pulverised into a tooth powder…

Source: Huon and Derwent Times, Thurs 28 Dec, 1939